This study aims to investigate the joint effect of three factors – processing fluency, the individuals’ need for cognition (NFC) and mood – on consumer skepticism toward corporate social responsibility (CSR) messages.
Study 1 uses a 2 (fluency: high versus low) × 2 (NFC: high versus low) design. In Study 2, a three-way interaction between fluency, NFC and mood was explored.
Individuals high in need for cognition responded more positively after reading a CSR message that is difficult to process. On the other hand, people low in NFC exhibited a higher level of skepticism toward CSR messages with low processing fluency. In addition, such an effect was moderated by mood. Positive mood (versus negative mood) increased dopamine levels, which further reduced skepticism.
Hospitality marketers should not simply assume that all consumers process information in the same fashion and, therefore, design their CSR message using the “one size fits all” strategy. It is critical for them to understand the importance of how to present the CSR messages to communicate with customers more effectively.
CSR has been increasingly used as a marketing tool by firms because of its positive effect on company reputation and customers’ purchase intentions. However, one of the greatest challenges corporate marketers are facing with regard to CSR programs is consumer skepticism. No prior research investigated the impact of processing fluency, individuals’ need for cognition and mood on consumer skepticism. This study fills this gap in the hospitality literature.
Zhang, L. and Hanks, L. (2017), "Consumer skepticism towards CSR messages: The joint effects of processing fluency, individuals’ need for cognition and mood", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 29 No. 8, pp. 2070-2084. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-11-2015-0666Download as .RIS
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